It can at times be a challenge getting beginning students to use the target language. I’ve found that giving them specific meaningful tasks and supports for those tasks can make it easier for them to practice target structures. Giving students a card with a vocabulary word and a picture can give them a talking point and save them time looking up unfamiliar words in the dictionary. Having them work in groups to complete tasks can also help the weaker students because, in my experience, the stronger students are usually happy to explain things to others. I used this set of vocabulary cards in my class for an activity to help students practice likes and dislikes. One thing I like about using these cards is that they help expand students’ vocabulary while at the same time letting them practice the target grammar structure. Below is the way I used them in my class.
Group Activity – This activity practices likes and dislikes as well as the third person form of the verbs.
- Download and print a set of cards and a handout for each student in your class.
- Introduce or review expressing likes and dislikes with the verbs like, love, and hate.
- Count students into groups of 4.
- Give each group a stack of cards face down.
- Explain and model the following rules:
- The group will turn over one card.
- Each person in the group will verbally express his/her feelings about the thing. (i.e “I love chocolate”).
- Next, everyone works to write down their classmates feelings about the item. (i.e “Jessica loves chocolae”). Students will not write a sentence about themselves.
- Emphasize that another card cannot be flipped until everyone in the group has finished writing. This will prompt the students who have a strong grasp of the topic to help weaker students and will also create a sense of community in the group.